Time Limits on UK study and academic progression

If the course is at degree level (SCVQ Level 10/NQF Level 6), the grant or permissions must not lead to you being granted more than five years on the Student Visa route. 

If the course is at Postgraduate (SCVQ Level 11/NQF Level 7) or PHD (SCVQ Level 12/NQF Level 8), there is no time limit. 

How will the UKVI calculate this cap?

UKVI will consider how much leave you have already received to study courses as a Tier 4 (General) or Tier 4 (Child) student or Pre-Tier 4 student at a Higher Education Level.  They will then add the expected leave that will be granted for the new course you wish to pursue if granted.  They will count time in months, with individual days rounded upwards or downward to the nearest month.  If you have two visas with overlapping periods, the overlapping period will not be double counted.

Academic Progression

Academic progression is an important part of the Student visa application, and it will dictate whether you can make your visa application in the UK.

If you make your Student visa application from inside the UK, your new period of studies must represent academic progression from your studies in the UK to date.  This means that:

  • You have successfully completed (i.e. achieved the award for) the most recent programme of study in the UK for which you were given a Tier 4 visa
  • Your new course is:
    • At a higher level than your previous programme, OR
    • Complementary study
      • This means it must be a specialisation of your previous studies, or a new programme which, combined with previous studies, will allow you to achieve your career goals

You do not need to show academic progression if:

  • You are making a Student Visa application from outside the UK (the university will still make an assessment on this though)
  • You are applying to resit an exam or repeat a course, or you have previously resat an exam or repeated a course, and you need extra time to complete your programme
  • You are applying for more time to complete your PhD for which you were last granted a Tier 4 visa (including at a new sponsor)
  • You are applying to undertake a role as a Sabbatical Officer
  • You are applying under the Doctorate Extension Scheme

The University will assess whether you meet the academic progression requirements before they issue you with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies.